Chrysoprase is a gemstone variety of chalcedony (a cryptocrystalline form of silica.) Its color is normally apple-green, but varies to deep green. The word chrysoprase comes from the Greek chrysos meaning 'gold' and prasinon, meaning 'green'.
Unlike emerald which owes its green color to the presence of chromium, the color of chrysoprase is due to trace amounts of nickel compounds in the form of very small inclusions.
The best known source of chrysoprase are Queensland (Western Australia). Australian chrysoprase is well know for it's vivid and clean green color. This is most precious kind of chrysoprase which we use in our jewelry.
There are other sources of lower quality chrysoprase in Germany, Poland, Russia, the United States (Arizona and California), and Brazil. The chrysoprase deposit in Szklary, Lower Silesia, Poland, was probably the biggest European chrysoprase occurrence and possibly also the biggest in the world.
Frederick the Great preferred the color of Chrysoprase over any other gem, and he reportedly had at least eight Chrysoprase snuff boxes, giving many more away as gifts. His favorite ring was Chrysoprase, which it is said he never took off. Additionally, he carried a walking stick with a knob of Chrysoprase. Frederick’s love of the stone increased its prestige and value. He adorned his palace at Potsdam with objects and furniture made in whole or in part of Silesian Chrysoprase, and additionally commissioned two all-Chrysoprase tables for it, which are described as being made from plates of Chrysoprase two feet wide, three feet long, and two inches thick.
Chrysoprase is found in the walls of the Chapel of St. Wenceslas in Prague, constructed in the 1400’s, and is enclosed completely inside the St. Vitus Cathedral.
In the 18th century it is said that thieves used to become invisible by placing Chrysoprase in their mouth, thus escaping execution.
Here is a photo of a silver earrings with chrysoprase and white CZ:
Check out more jewelry with chrysoprase.